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Educational visits at Lackford Lakes

Pond dipping at LackfordBird watchingMinibeast hunting

Lackford Lakes is a fascinating mosaic of habitats including lakes and pools, reedbeds, meadows, streams, wet and dry woodland, scrub and sandy heath all of which support an inspiring variety of birds and other wildlife throughout the year. Established on gravel workings, the creation of such an important environmental site makes it an ideal site to study the crossover between people and wildlife.

     The Long reach The pond dipping platform The Centre pool and reedbed The education meadow      


The Culford stream  Ash car woodland  The new fields  

The purpose built education and visitor centre at Lackford was created in the summer of 2002 and consists of an education room, small shop, viewing gallery overlooking the centre pool and feeding stations and toilet factilities. The circular kingfisher trail is often used with visiting school groups and allows for great veiws across the lakes, allowing groups to watch the birds and other wildlife at close quarters from the many bird hides.

The visitor centre  The education room  The viewing gallery  The double decker hide 


For more information on Lackford Lakes click here

Here at Lackford Lakes, we provide first hand experience of Suffolk’s wild places. Our programmes help students to gain knowledge & skills to understand the natural world & empower them to make informed decisions about their role in shaping the living landscape around them.

Lackford Lakes is a fantastic place to visit all year round with loads going on and lots to see and explore. As a result, we run school visits throughout the year. If you are interested in visiting Lackford Lakes with your group, it is advisable to book as far in advance as possible (particularly for the summer term) as we do become fully booked quite early on in the summer term.

Whilst every visit to Lackford Lakes is tailor made to suit your group and their curriculum needs, popular themes for activities emerge. Below are listed our most popular programmes. However we are flexible & will mix & match and tailor programmes to the needs of each group and the season. 

Book your visit for the Summer or Autumn terms of 2009 before April and pay 2008 prices!

Popular Programmes:


Pond dipping

Exploring habitats (KS 1-4):

Observe plants & animals in the local environment. Investigate food chains & learn the basics of classification using fun and simple keys:

Pond life – pond dipping, lifecycles & food chains

Minibeasts - sampling techniques, identify and classify using our simple key trail

Plant explorers - how do plants grow? Interview a plant and uncover the secrets of pollination (including the bee game), seed production, dispersal and germination.


Bird watching


Birds & Journeys (KS 1-4):

Investigate how birds are adapted for survival through close observations from bird hides. Study their physical characteristics & discover the secret of flight:

Bird watching – observation & identification using binoculars

Migration – follow the migration journey

Adaptation – fit for flight and beak variations/adaptations


The water conservation game


Footsteps of the future (KS 2-4):

Explore options for alternative energy, discover the importance of water conservation, see where our food comes from and make a pledge for a more sustainable future.

Alternative energy – discover the problem with fossil fuels, explore solar and wind power

Water and waste – look at water usage & conservation & see where our rubbish goes

Food miles – work out where our food comes from & how to reduce the carbon footprint


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Literacy & Sensory days (nursery/reception + KS 1/2):

Cross curricular days using literature & senses to explore nature:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (<KS1) – explore lifecycles, minibeasts and sensory activities

The Empty Pond (<KS1) – follow this Lackford story and explore our aquatic wildlife.

Myths, legends & creative writing (KS1-2)– explore Lackford through the English language, create a descriptive poem and write a myth inspired by our local wildlife.


Jason's Pool, Lackford Lakes

Exploring the environment (KS 1-4):

Explore the differences between places first hand using simple sampling & recording techniques:

Comparing habitats – using basic sampling techniques, mapping & field sketches

Orienteering, photo trails, mini nature reserves & special places

Lackford Lakes history trail (gravel pit to nature reserve)


Collage of a rabbit


Wild art (reception + KS 1-4):

Gaining inspiration from the natural world & natural materials to create artwork:

Collage and sculpture with natural products

Junk bugs – a creative way to re- use rubbish!

Printing & soil painting


Shelter building in Spouses Vale


Forest Schools activity days (KS 1-2) (autumn and winter terms only):

Forest Schools uses varied natural resources in the woodland and the children’s interests to stimulate imaginative, creative and investigative activities. Spend a day exploring a woodland through forest schools activities:

Exploring the woods - mud face trail and journey sticks

Textures and touches - soil painting, rope mobiles and bark rubbings

Animals of the woods - animal detectives, minibeast hunts, minibeast homes

Survival - survival trail and shelter building including the 'water test'!!


If you want to know more about forest schools or would like to book a series of forest schools sessions,

please contact the Education Officer (details below) and/ or follow this link: forest schools with SWT

In addition to the above programmes, Lackford Lakes can also provide a research site for pupils undertaking practical studies for GCSE or AS/A level. Courses can be developed with you to cover your particular syllabus requirements. Typically, a short introduction to the site is given in the centre, followed by fieldwork to collect statistical data which can take the form of one or several visits. Please contact the education officer for further information or to book your visit.

Our programmes are fun and flexible and will be tailored to your group's specific needs.

Full site and activity risk assessments are available on request for all activities, please ask for these if required.

If you wish to book a visit or have a query, please contact the Lackford Lakes Education officer :

Education Officer - Emma Kerridge
Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Lackford Lakes Visitor Centre
Lackford, Bury St Edmunds, IP28 6HX
Tel:  01284 728706    email:

Groups with special needs are welcome. Please talk to us about your requirements when you book your visit.

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